The wilderness has the potential to provide a powerful healing environment for your clients away from the pressures and expectations of daily life. Backpacking and other adventure activities can help your clients feel independent, competent, and empowered. Unfortunately, the unknown of the wilderness and the physical challenges that it brings— the same factors that can foster healing—can simultaneously retrigger old trauma patterns. Moreover, lack of control and choice can psychologically paralyze your clients and cause them to inadvertently shut down and go into primitive brain states where new growth is impossible. While every outdoor or wilderness program requires its staff to be trained to respond to clients’ injuries or illnesses, few programs require psychological or emotional trauma training. Even though every wilderness practitioner will encounter their clients’ trauma patterns while in the field at one time or another, most will find themselves lacking the specialized skills necessary to provide trauma-specific intervention and support.
Signs of trauma can be subtle and hidden or more overt and obvious. Without specific training, clinicians can easily overlook these signs or conceptualize them incorrectly. Ineffective treatment, including targeting the symptoms of trauma alone, such as addiction and behavioral disorders, instead of focusing on the causes, can amplify your clients’ powerlessness, and can cause an increase of their symptoms and even relapse. Because trauma is often the root of your clients’ presenting problems, we want to help you to be able to recognize the signs of trauma, understand the underlying neurophysiology, and acquire the skills to support their resiliency. With our high-level trauma awareness and prevention trainings, we’re here to partner with you to take the powerful skills, education, and commitment you already have to the next level.